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World Business Quick Take



Bell Canada to shed jobs

Telecommunications giant Bell Canada will eliminate about 2,500 management jobs as the company restructures to cut costs and increase competitivity, parent BCE Inc said on Monday. The job cuts represent roughly 15 percent of the firm’s white-collar employees and 6 percent of the total work force, said the publicly traded company, which is in the process of being taken private. The new BCE president and chief executive, George Cope, has already slashed his management team by a third after taking up his position two weeks ago.


Record deficit for Brazil

Brazil’s current account hit a record deficit of US$17.4 billion in the first half of this year, partly on an outflow of corporate funds due to the soaring real, the central bank said on Monday. Foreign companies have virtually doubled the amount of money they are sending out of Brazil back to their head offices compared to the same period last year, the bank said. That is because the real, Brazil’s currency, has strengthened by more than 12 percent against the dollar over the past year, boosting the bottom line of subsidiaries in Latin America’s largest economy.The outflow of funds for the first six months of this year totalled US$19 billion, an increase of 96 percent. The central bank calculates the current account will show a deficit of US$21 billion at the end of the year. That is equivalent to 1.5 percent of GDP.


SAP exceeds expectations

SAP, the world’s biggest business software maker, posted a second quarter net profit yesterday that fell by 9 percent but nonetheless exceeded analysts expectations. SAP made a profit of 408 million euros (US$642 million) in the three months from April to last month, or 0.34 euros per share. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast net profit of 0.31 euros per share. The lower result was largely a result of SAP’s acquisition last year of software firm Business Objects. Software revenues, a benchmark of group growth, increased by 18 percent from the second quarter of last year to 2.86 billion euros. Total sales gained 18 percent to 2.86 billion euros, while operating profit was up by 2 percent at 593 million.


Matsushita profits soar

Japan’s Matsushita, the electronics giant behind the Panasonic brand, said yesterday its net profit soared almost 86 percent in the fiscal first quarter helped by brisk sales of flat televisions. Net earnings rose to ¥73.03 billion (US$680 million) in the three months to last month from ¥39.31 billion in the same period of the previous year, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co said in a statement. Revenue fell by 3.9 percent to ¥2.15 trillion after the company slashed its stake in troubled affiliate JVC. For the full financial year to March, the group left unchanged its forecasts for net profit of ¥310 billion on revenue of ¥9.20 trillion.


Teva to make big investment

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, will invest as much as US$10.5 million in the CureTech Ltd unit of Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd to fund research. The investment will be used by CureTech to complete Phase II trials of the experimental compound CT011 for reducing tumor growth and other operations, Clal said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange yesterday. If it invests all US$10.5 million, Teva will hold 38 percent of CureTech, Clal said.

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